Sales are up year over year for members of the MAST Travel Network but they also report that business has been affected by concerns over the Zika virus, safety issues in Europe and the stock market performance.
According to a MAST survey, 37 percent of 140 respondents said they have clients who have canceled trips due to the Zika virus. Some of these bookings are lost sales as not all customers rebook their vacation to another destination not on the list of countries with active Zika virus transmission, MAST said.
The consortium has 180 travel agency members throughout the Midwest.
“Every year the travel industry deals with multiple issues that keep people home even when the risks are really rather low,” said John Werner, president and COO of MAST. “Educating travelers is key and more important than ever.
“The good news is the vast majority of trips booked are taken and people return home telling all their friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about the great vacation they just had,” Werner added. “Travel professionals can keep spreading that story using customer testimonials in social media and agency newsletters.”
According to the survey, stock market performance was cited by five percent of respondents as the cause of canceled bookings with agents noting that clients were less comfortable spending money in a volatile environment where their investments are being impacted.
Sales on European travel increased for some agencies and decreased for others with 22 percent reporting an increase in bookings and 21 percent reporting a decrease, while 57 percent said they experienced no change year over year.
When asked about the Mediterranean region specifically, eight percent of survey respondents reported an increase in year over year bookings, 23 percent reported a decrease, and 69 percent reported no change.
A recently updated travel alert to Mexico regarding ongoing drug-related violence, along with fears about Zika, led to client trip cancellations reported by 38 percent of the respondents. Sixty-two percent, however, said they’ve had no cancellations.
In a survey of its members, MAST reports sales are up year over year with most of its preferred suppliers.
But business is being affected by safety concerns in Europe, fears of catching the Zika virus, and even stock market performance.